I had burgers on the brain again today. Since yesterday, actually. I was walking home from the bus stop, and the smell of freshly grilled hamburgers permeated the air. If I would have had ground beef at home, I would have called an audible and just cooked one for myself. Instead, I shook it off and made a pretty fantastic (IMO) pork dish which I'll be writing about soon.
Luckily, today was payday at my "real" job, so I planned ahead and didn't pack a lunch. Considering I work on the Boise State campus, I had to decide between burger places within walking distance. The sexy pic was probably Big Jud's--the Boise institution has been featured on Man vs. Food, and its reputation precedes it. But a different restaurant had been on my mind for some time. Burger Belly. I was actually sad the first time I saw it on the corner of Broadway and Belmont, because I'd really liked Lucy's, the funky little coffee shop that dared open across the street from Starbucks. As silly as it might sound, what drew me to walk across campus on this crisp November afternoon? This guy:
He's so silly looking! As unprofessional as it might sound, it was my inner child that drew me to Burger Belly. Well, that and the fact that I'd seen people leaving their restaurant the last couple of times I went to the Burger King down the road, and they looked happier than me. Was it burger related? I had to know.
My milkshake was done before I even finished looking around the small shop. My first instinct was that the speed in which it was produced indicated bad or artificial quality. I couldn't have been more wrong. Even though it was a chilly day I savored every chocolaty bite. There were even little ribbons of chocolate as I dug deeper into my cup, a clear visual indication (as if I couldn't tell) that I'd gotten the real deal.
My food arrived shortly thereafter, and while it was tempting to read the Skyfall review in the newspaper, I decided I'd rather watch the action in the kitchen. The restaurant is pretty small, and so I could see the cook flipping burgers, my cashier making small talk with patrons, and another lady mixing shakes. One bit of that small talk? "When I first started, people didn't like me." She was telling this to a burly guy with a beard that seemed uncertain to come in all the way. "The regulars expected me to know their orders. It took a few weeks, but now they all like me." Regulars. I could see why this place had them. My fries were perfectly golden, crisp on the outside but fluffy inside. The fry sauce--though still fry sauce--was actually pretty good, made on site rather than in a plastic cup. Which was a good thing, because it was on the cheeseburger as well. I was actually impressed with the size of the thing, too. Anymore, if you order a hamburger or a cheeseburger at a restaurant and it doesn't have a fancy name, it isn't even a whole burger, but my #2 came with lettuce, tomato, pickles, onions, american cheese, and a toasted bun. Not to mention that the patty itself was substantial. Not a hulking monstrosity, by any means, but well worth my money. And I've heard that the namesake "Burger Belly" burger is a hulking monstrosity, if that's more your style.
quick bite is concerned. And their menu is filled with things I want to try--most notably the fish sandwich, the veggie burger, and the jalapeno bacon burger. Although I like to mock Campus Dining Services, the Boise State burger shop actually has a pretty good veggie burger, and I am interested in comparing. I don't know anywhere else I can get to on foot that has a fish sandwich (apart from BK, but c'mon,) and so that will lure me back sooner rather than later. Most importantly, now that my belly is feeling less full, I'm already drooling over the thought of another one of those milkshakes. They only have three flavors--the usual suspects of vanilla, strawberry, and chocolate--but it doesn't matter. I'd rather have three good choices than twenty bogus ones. If you are in the BSU area and you are in the mood for a burger, avoid the corner that is Burger King and Wendy's, and stop in at Burger Belly. You won't regret it. (Oh, and tell them Catfish's Dishes sent you.)